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Release Number: 09-114

For Immediate Release

Public Information Office

April 22, 2009

JD Callaway:

(813) 247-8060






Court Ruling On Vehicle Seizure


April 2009





















The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Legal Section has successfully appealed the forfeiture of a vehicle used by a defendant convicted of his third D.U.I. arrest in four years.


In a recent ruling, the Second District Court of Appeal found that the Sheriff’s Office was correct in seizing the $17,000 vehicle the defendant used in committing his third D.U.I. offense, even though the maximum criminal fines were only $6000.  The Sheriff’s Office had appealed a Circuit Court decision that found that the forfeiture of the defendant’s vehicle amounted to an unconstitutional excessive fine.


The defendant, Kale E. Gainous, was arrested by deputies on April 18, 2007 for D.U.I.. and was later convicted of his third D.U.I. in four years. After the Sheriff’s Office seized his vehicle for forfeiture proceedings, the defendant argued that his vehicle, a 2006 Chrysler 300 sedan, was valued at more than the total allowable criminal fines, so the forfeiture was excessive.  Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge James M. Barton agreed with the defendant, basing his decision on previous Florida appellate rulings.


The Sheriff’s Office, represented by Assistant Legal Counsel Christopher E. Brown, appealed. On April 17, the District Court of Appeal issued its ruling and said the Sheriff’s Office seizure of the vehicle was not excessive, noting that “we cannot ignore the public safety concerns posed by Mr. Gainous’s offenses; he had committed three DUIs in four years.’’


Sheriff David Gee is pleased with the appeals court ruling and the expansion of law enforcement’s ability to protect the public by punishing repeated drunken drivers.


To view the appeals court ruling, click here:


Second District Court of Appeal Case 2D08-1900